tv Martin Bashir MSNBC November 26, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
national television. >> some people, you know, they stand for something. i went to washington to try to change -- >> i agree with that. then they should stand for it on their own. they shouldn't have to sign a pledge from somebody else. >> what they're talking about again is tax revenue and the house speaker has talked about it. mitt romney campaigned on it. >> lowering deductions and closing loopholes. >> eliminate or limit rather deductions and credits and exemptions. cutting out the exemptions and loopholes. >> grow this economy and engage in tax reform. >> simplify the code. >> ywhen you get divorced, thats what happens. ♪ >> welcome back after the thanksgiving holiday and all eyes are on the fast approaching fiscal cliff with republicans possibly maybe looking to make a deal. with the deadline now just 36 days away, some top republicans suggest they could, shock,
horror, break with their sacred pledge to grover norquist. >> i'm not obligated on the pledge i made tennesseans aware is just elected that the only thing i'm honoring is the oath that i take when i serve when i'm sworn in this january. >> there's a lot that has been said about this pledge, and i will tell you when i go to the constituents that have elected -- re-elected me, it is not about that pledge. it really is about trying to solve problems. >> when you're $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming greece, but i will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country only if democrats will do entitlement reform. >> sounds great, doesn't it? only one problem, this apparent kiss-off to the anti-tax guru appears to be pure lip service. as mr. norquist himself expressed this morning in somewhat colorful language. >> no pledge taker has voted for a tax increase.
we've had some people discussing impure thoughts on national television. we would certainly highlight who has kept their commitment and who hasn't. >> yet, so far those impure thoughts have not crossed into taboo territory of raising tax rates on the wealthy. rather, these so-called reasonable republicans have expressed a willingness to close loopholes and cap deductions. sound familiar? yes, thus far congressional republicans' biggest concession is to embrace the tax plan of the losing presidential candidate, mitt romney. and if mr. romney's recent trouncing at the polls wasn't enough evidence, a new survey shows a majority of americans support a balanced approach. two-thirds say that any agreement should include a mix of spending cuts and tax increases with just under one in three saying a deal should only include spending cuts. of course, only 28% say that those in washington will act
like responsible adults in this matter with 67% saying they'll behave like spoiled children. can't imagine where they'd get that idea and, unfortunately, for certain gop standard bearers, they will be the target of americans' anger if no deal is reached. with 45% blaming republicans in congress and only 34% blaming the president. by the way, remember that losing presidential candidate we mentioned a moment ago, we got a little glimpse of old mitt this holiday with a facebook photo and brief message. hope everyone had a great thanksgiving. much to be thankful for this year. indeed. he must be very grateful he doesn't have to try and sell his tax plan to a dubious nation. let's get right to our panel now. with us from washington is msnbc contributor jared bernstein, a senior fellow with the center on budget and policy priorities and a former economist for vice president joe biden.
democratic strategist julian epstein and correspondent ken vogel. good afternoon to all of you. jared, if i might start with you, republicans sound like lance armstrong on steroids. 1u suddenly finding the courage to sprint away from grover norquist but is there really any concession here if they end up embracing mitt romney's tax policy? >> as i have said here before, martin, too often we hear from republicans talking to democrats saying, okay, you won, now here are our list of demands. the recognition that the president's victory, and by the way, even more people than voted for him supported this idea in the exit polls -- >> 60%. >> that, in fact, the simplest most fiscally responsible way to proceed is for the upper income bush tax cuts on only the top 2% of households to expire. now, we have the congressional budget office telling us that
that would have virtually no effect on the macroeconomy, but it would raise about a trillion dollars over ten years. that's significant deficit reduction and you don't have to get into all this michigas as my grandma would say about which loopholes you're going to close. when you go that route you run into the same math problem mitt romney had. there's typically not enough revenue to make up for if the upper -- >> i have seen you do the experiment with the glass and it's wonderful. most americans think washington officials will behave like spoiled children, and warren buffett took the gop to school today, quote, let's forget about the rich and ultra rich going on strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if, gasp, capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are increased. the ultra rich, including me,
says mr. buffett, will forever pursue investment opportunities. so he's calling for a minimum tax on millionaires and billionaires. will republicans listen? >> well, it's a sensible way. if we're going to have a deal, we will have to see some kind of compromise. a minimum tax on people making over $1 million a year can generate a half it trillion in a ten-year scale. if you include deductions you don't necessarily have to go to 39%. you can go to 37% if you are looking for compromise. but i think there's a bigger issue here as well, and that is the idea this is a slightly critical towards the democrats, the biggest issue that this country faces right now is getting us back to 4% economic growth, 3% or 4% economic growth and seeing wages increase right now. this whole idea that debt reduction and budget austerity is the pre-eminent issue facing this country is just wrong. as a matter of economics, it's just wrong. there is absolutely no evidence that investors are fleeing our market. there's no evidence there's any
inflationary pressure. there's no evidence that we're going to defaument fault on our debt. so this idea started with the republicans in 2011 that we had to have dollar to dollar debt reduction for every single dollar that we increased the debt ceiling by. it's an economic theory that really doesn't have a lot of basis if you talk to economists. i think jared would probably agree with that. it's also an experiment that was tried in europe and it failed. what we need to be focusing on is -- we don't necessarily have to stick to the numbers in the august 2011 deal. >> going back to jared for a moment, the projections on growth are only around 2.3%. >> right. >> and we know that's not going to produce the kind of increase in revenues that people are looking for. >> right. but what julian is saying is our focus right now ought to be on economic growth and jobs, and i very much agree with that. at the same time we are headed for this fiscal cliff and we need to do something to resolve that. we have an opportunity here to
lock in responsible fiscal policy over the next few years. i think we should be able to do both. >> ken, we're told that the president is meeting today with the head of mitt romney's favorite organization, the magnificent chamber of commerce which as we know produced some marvelous surveys that appeared to support him. he spoke with speaker boehner and harry reid over the weekend and yet no meeting date is set. what kind of outreach is going on behind the scenes? are you aware, ken, of any other relationships that are being developed at this moment to try to fend off the fiscal cliff? >> yeah. mostly what we're hearing about is that the staff level there are ongoing negotiations between the white house, between harry reid and the senate majority leader's office and john boehner's office, the house republicans. but so far what we've seen, at least in the principal, is really just highlighting the differences and how stark the differences are. yes, there have been some republicans who have publicly said they are open to poe tengts
tax increases, revenue increases, but even more so we're seeing this entrenchment over the military spending cuts, the unwilling nness to see that and we're seeing on the democratic side the idea that maybe it wouldn't be so bad if we went over the fiscal cliff and kicked the can down the road to the next congress which will be more favorable from the liberal perspective to negotiating on these big picture issues. frankly, i think it would be harder to have a compromise on son-in-law of the entitlement reform that republicans want to see, at least some movement before they will agree before this talk of raising taxes will be anything more than the lip service that you mentioned. >> okay. so ken is suggesting there it's in republicans' interests to do a deal now. jared, the white house is warning today, and you mentioned it earlier, of dire consequences if the bush tax cuts for the middle class expire. a hit to consumer spending
something like four times the revenue of black friday. jared, do you think that republicans would risk that kind of disaster to protect the top 2% who frankly can afford to pay a little bit more. >> i fear there is a significant bloc of republicans in the house who, frankly, might make that kind of a terrible deal for america, and you teed it up exactly right. you're talking about middle class households at risk of a couple thousand dollars increase in their tax liability if the bush tax cuts expire for them. this is the 98% of households that everyone agrees on. and i think the president has a pretty strong point when he says in the interest of the economy and in the interest of the broad middle class, in the interest of an economy that's beginning to show some momentum and recovery, why not agree on that part right away? i mean, we can squabble about the other 2% of households anytime we want. so i think the white house is very smart, both politically and
economically, to be pressing that part of the argument. >> jared bernstein, julian epstein, ken vogel, gentlemen, thank you so much. before we go to break, a note on that photo we shared just a few moments ago. a picture posted by mitt romney to his facebook page this thanksgiving weekend. his caption read in part, much to be thankful for this year. a gracious mess ge. we had a few caption ideas of our own like, life is a beach here in sunny california. or what fiscal cliff, grover? how about your welsh cakes are burning, burning, ann? the possiblilities are endless. let us know your opinion. your good toois and good humor are always appreciated. next, grover may never come over. is he a man or is he a muppet? stay with us. >> would you share your 2350d with someone? >> yes. >> but that would create a culture of dependency.
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conservatives definitely got one thing right about the 9/11 benghazi attacks. the lies and half truths that some politicians and pundits were peddling about what really happened would eventually blow up in their faces. the one thing they got wrong, it would be on their faces and on their network and via a pulitzer prize winning journalist who knows a thing or two about the middle east. >> emphasis on benghazi has been
extremely political probably because fox was operating as a wing of the republican party. >> tom ricks, thanks very much for joining us today. >> you're welcome. >> joining us now is lynn sweet, d.c. bureau chief for "the chicago sun-times" and john than capehart, an msnbc contributor. welcome to both of you. john, that was tom ricks, a pulitzer prize-winning journalist. do you get the impression that the tent that houses the ben z benghazi truthers is getting a little smaller and by the way, if i don't like your response, i will end the segment early. >> clearly they didn't like it. that interview lasted all of a minute 20 seconds. time ritom ricks is a first rat report er reporter. when you watch the clip in its entirety he takes a couple shots at fox news and he does it with confidence and an air of authority that the anchor just couldn't puncture. i think that's why they cut the
interview very short. >> yes. the poor chap was struggling to give a response when mr. ricks made that comment about if the journalists knew anything of the numbers who had been killed in that sort of setting prior and outside of the actual attacks on that day. he just didn't know what to say. >> yeah. i mean, tom ricks went at him and said how many contractors have been killed in libya in these conflicts? and the anchor had nothing to say. and tom ricks said, it's somewhere in the couple thousands but even we don't know the number because no one talks about it, and yet we're sitting here spending all our time talking about these four people who were killed. tragically they were killed, but a whole lot of attention is being spent focusing on them and not about the thousands ever others who have been killed. >> indeed. lynn, john mccain has been the chief inquisitor pushing these claims. however, i want to play for you two pieces of sound from him. one from a few weeks ago, two weeks ago, in fact, the other
from sunday. see if you can notice a little difference. >> i will do everything in my power to block her from being the united states secretary of state. >> she could conceivably get your vote for secretary of state? >> i think she deserves the ability and the opportunity to explain herself and her position just as she said. >> that was -- they were, of course, clips referring to susan rice. to my ears that second clip sounds like what is known in military circles as a retreat. is that right? >> well, i think -- yes, it's right, martin, and senator mccain's retreat if that's what you want to call it, pretty good word, by the way, for this actually started a week ago sunday. this is the second sunday in a row where he is laying the groundwork for letting susan rice vhave her say if she's nominated. this seems prudent because carrying on a campaign against her when you don't know for sure if obama wants to nominate her can only go so far until something else happens.
what senator mccain said two weeks ago is i think he wants an apology from her. that's the word he used. i don't know if he would get that because the administration says there's nothing to apologize for when it comes to ambassador rice. but, yes, change of tone, maybe a change of what his position will be when and if she's nominated. >> john, if i can finish with you, john, do you think that in light of what happened, the attacks on susan rice and now this apparent retreat, do you think that strengthened the president's desire, if it is there, for her to become secretary of state? >> look, i think the president's desire to nominate susan rice was made very clear, if, indeed, thaes what he wants to do, was made very clear at the press conference he had last week or so where he gave a full-throated defense of her and said to both senators john mccain and lindsey graham, don't go after her. if you have an issue with someone, come after me. and so that's the clearest indication yet that susan rice is probably at the top of the
nomination heap. >> indeed. jonathan capehart, lynn sweet, thank you both. >> thank you. next, want to avoid holiday traffic, daily commutes, and offices altogether? run for congress. stay with us. with verizon. this monday online only. get the droid razr by motorola in cranberry, free. or a white 7-inch samsung galaxy tab 2, just $99.99. this holiday, get the best deals on the best devices on the best network. exclusively at verizon.
after a brief break for thanksgiving, the majority of americans made the trudge first back home and then back to work this morning, but this did not include our esteemed elected members of capitol hill. oh, no. with an urgent need to address the fiscal cliff, support our economic recovery and consider the unrest in the middle east, congress has the day off. in fact, the house has spent just 109 days in the office this year. nice work if you can get it. nbc's luke russert joins us from a very sleepy capitol hill. luke, you have got to be kidding me.
another day off, another day off? >> well, martin, it's the house schedule. it's been out a while. republicans say that, look, you can go back to 2008, democrats had the same number -- less days in the house, but i think what the main issue here is we have seen that in the course of these types of negotiations, the longer time that is spent each size staking out their position, the less they're actually trying to work towards a consensus. the idea is if more folks are here and there's more of a consensus being drawn, there's a better probability of this not dragging out to december 31st. >> i mean, that's not rocket science, luke. what you just said -- >> no, it's not. >> -- makes absolute sense, and yet 109 days this year. >> correct. and what the argument would be from individual members, look, our staffs have been in negotiations, it's been ongoing, but i keep going back to the last time we had negotiations like this which way the super committee. the super committee had meeting upon meeting just to decide how
they would proceed forward in terms of what the rules would be. there is ongoing negotiations but both sides seem to be staking out their position. it's not really a real effort to try to stay here is what we can do constructively. >> that's probably because they have to introduce each other to the other party each time they meet because they don't meet very often. this is a lame duck session, as you know. should we expect just a temporary deal that will as speaker boehner loves to say, kick the can down the road, as opposed to actually solving the problem? >> there will be no big grand deal in the lame duck session. what we'll have is some sort of stopgap measure, something that then kicks into 2013. the reason why, there's just not enough time. what you will see is some sort of trigger mechanism which will try to make what has to happen in 2013 actually occur. remember, we are here where we are today because of a similar trigger mechanism. >> indeed we are.
right, and insanity is doing the same thing again but expecting it to be different. nbc's luke russert. thank you. >> be well. >> stay with us. the day's "top lines" are coming up. [ female announcer ] born from the naturally sweet monk fruit, something this delicious could only come from nature. now from the maker of splenda sweeteners, discover nectresse. the only 100% natural, no-calorie sweetener made from the goodness of fruit. the rich, sweet taste of sugar. nothing artificial. ♪ it's all that sweet ever needs to be. new nectresse. sweetness naturally. with his wife, danielle, almost every weekend. derrell hasn't been able to visit his mom back east in a long time. [ shirley ] things are sometimes a little tight around the house. i wasn't able to go to the wedding. [ emily jo ] since derrell couldn't get home, we decided to bring home to him
starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news. from impure thoughts to a christmas penance for the gop, here are today's "top lines." where's grover? >> no pledge taker has voted for a tax increase. >> i had impure thoughts about a man. >> we've had some people discussing impure thoughts. >> i think he was a bandit or something. >> we would certainly highlight who has kept their commitment. >> impure thoughts? >> at your age? >> it is not about that pledge. it's really about trying to solve problems. >> only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming greece. >> what it takes a political courage. >> i can no longer sit back and allow filtration.
purify all of our precious bodily fluids. >> nothing says christmas like a family picture with santa and ak-47s. >> honest to god and our lord and savior, barack obama. >> listening to rock and roll music. >> she says it leads to impure thoughts. >> tax revenue and the house speaker has talked about that, john boehner. mitt romney campaigned on it. >> i cannot let this dance happen. >> so you have this dance now, raising tax revenues and raising tax rates. i get it. but do your constituents get it? >> isn't this where i'm supposed to confess my sins to my preacher. >> when you have four people dead, how do you call that hype? >> how many security contractors died in iraq. do you know? >> i don't. >> as u.n. ambassador, she has an obligation not just to be a puppet. >> when i see this focus on what was essentially a small fire fight, it's impossible to figure out what happens on them sometimes. >> she could conceivably get your vote. >> the emphasis has been extremely political probably because fox was operating as a
wing of the political party. >> tom ricks, thank you for joining us. >> as far as young women are concerned, i can state my position on abortion. other than that leave the issue alone. >> 20 hail marys, 20 our fathers. ja let's get to our fanl. ana marie cox is a correspondent for "the guardian," and msnbc political analyst karen finney. karen, we just heard senator john mccain a moment ago in "top lines" saying, okay, from now on we republicans should just leave the issue of abortion alone. does he mean that republicans should belatedly accept the supreme court ruling or is he saying that they simply shouldn't discuss the issue in public? >> exactly. has nothing to do with a change of heart. it has to do with a change of talking points. clearly you could see in all of those top lines that a new sheet of talking points were issued to the gop this weekend. but don't let that fool you to make you think the policies have actually changed. i think they're smart enough to say, hey, if we just don't talk
about it, maybe it will be okay. i think we're going to get the test test of it with the violence against women act reauthorization. >> ab na marie there was a supplementary question to senator mccain's enigmatic pronouncement. >> when you say leave the issue alone, you would say freedom of choice? >> i would allow people to have those opinions and respect those opinions. i'm proud of my pro-life position and record. but if someone disagrees with me, i respect your views. >> again, anna marie, sorry to ask you to explain the inexplicable. is the good senator now saying that he respects your view but does not respect your right to control your own body? >> that does seem to be if you sort of decode it to be what he's saying. i have to say that maybe i'm a little bit of a softy. we've already discovered that, and i'm a little bit simp thet toik what he's saying because i think it's a good first step to
not actively denigrate women. i think if you don't actively talk about rape using words like illegitimate rape, you are making progress. the next step in this progress is, you know, they have a great opportunity with the violence against women act which they have accused democrats of adding language that, of course, they can't vote in favor of it because it does things like protect transgendered and bisexual and gay people in domestic abuse. so we'll see. we'll see if they're really willing to sort of let people have the rights that they deserve. >> right. okay. so praise there from anna marie sort of. karen, the conservative media has got into the holiday spirit with fox nation putting out a deeply flawed story saying, and i'm quoting, planned parenthood was giving out abortion coupons for black friday. i guess tomorrow they will report there were fist fights and gun fi as a result of a stampede for these coupons.
is this the best the conservative media can offer in attacking an organization that provides vital services for women, some 97% of which has nothing whatsoever to do with abortion? >> that's right. actually unlike ana marie cox, i'm going to raise the bar a little bit and say that just not being hateful and talking about legitimate rape and women being able to shut things down is not a first step. a first step is actually acknowledging that attacking planned parenthood doesn't actually send a message to women that you get it that planned parenthood is an important part of providing health care services for women. we happen to need those health care services. >> 3 million women across the country. >> exactly. it may be the best the conservatives think they can do, but it certainly shows that despite even the rhetoric on those talking points that perhaps were september out across the republican folks on the sunday shows, the policies and ideas have not changed. >> okay. anna marie, we mentioned fox nation as i said a moment ago. here is an opinion column
they've done called "the war on men." i'd like to read just a few lines from this piece and then i would like to hear your reaction. here is what the author says. i'm quoting her. i've accidentally stumbled upon a subculture of men who have told me in no uncertain terms that they're never getting married. when i ask them why, the answer is always the same, women aren't women anymore. now, anna marie, is that a reference to some kind of genetic mutation of the species? >> last time i checked i was at the gym earlier today, i feel like women are still women. also, this subculture you stumbled on, i have a name for that subcuil tour, it's losers. i am kind of glad they have taken themselves out of the dating pool. those guys don't want to get married, i don't want to marry them. i'm grateful that she's found these people. maybe they can wear like an "l" on the forehead so we know to avoid them. >> when you call them losers,
what do you mean by that? >> i mean they have no respect for women, which in and of itself says something about the way they value thems. they're insecure. it means they don't -- the whole logic of this article is really hard to parse. there's things in there about like women being on a pedestal and mean being on a pedestal and pushing each other off pedestals. you know what? what it's all about is everyone being on equal ground and respecting each other's -- go ahead, karen. >> the other problem that i had with the piece is it completely, again, we see this type and again from conservatives, they have no idea how the world works and how people are living their lives. there are women and men who don't want to get married, who choose not to get married as a way to live their lives. this completely ignores that and it completely ignores the fact that just as women's roles are changing in our culture, so are men's roles. i have a suggestion if conservatives are really tweaked about this issue of marriage, they should go ahead and support marriage equality. i'm sure that would kick those numbers right back up. >> good luck with that, karen. okay. "the new york times" had an interesting suggestion for
republicans who want to improve their standing with women. karen, you have already mentioned it, an editorial this weekend points out the one easy step they could take is to stop blocking reauthorization of the violence against women act. why don't they just go ahead and do that? >> there's really not a good policy reason they shouldn't. particularly if you look at the legislation that passed the senate that's currently on the table. the changes that the house republicans don't like are changes that actually speak to real problems, native american women who are being abused, sexual assaulted by nonnative men who come onto the reservation. women who are here illegally who are victimized time and again but afraid to come forward because of their illegal status, and, as anna marie mentioned, gay, lesbian, transgender people, who we also know get turn eed away bus people don't know how to handle those needs. in the united states of america
it is not okay to attack and rape and beat any woman. >> well said, and you know, karen and anna marie, on this broadcast we love you women. >> we love you, martin. >> thank you. before we go to break, a sprinkling 69 many responses to our request for captions on this thanksgiving photo of mitt and ann romney. ann, honey, what floor is your cadillac parked on? east coast 22 suggests, we still love you women. and our favorite from raul hunt, don't worry about the dishes, p. thank you for all your color suggestions. do stay with us. [ male announcer ] when was the last time something made your jaw drop? campbell's has 24 new soups that will make it drop over, and over again. ♪ from jammin' jerk chicken, to creamy gouda bisque. see what's new from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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constipated? yeah. mm. some laxatives like dulcolax can cause cramps. but phillips' caplets don't. they have magnesium. for effective relief of occasional constipation. thanks. [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life. phillips'. "the new york times" has reported that just before the election, the president's national security team began drafting specific guidelines for the use of predator drones.
it was motivated by fear of what a potential romney administration might do with these weapons in the fight against terrorism. and while the fear of a romney administration has passed, there is still plenty of thorny questions about this controversial program. let's bring in msnbc military analyst colonel jack jacobs and also michael o'hanlon of the brookings institution. if i might grin with you, colonel jack, i want to play something that then candidate obama said in 2008. take a listen. >> if the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask why was i grabbed and say maybe you've got the wrong person. the reason you have that safeguard is because we don't always have the right person. >> now, candidate obama there was talking about the government grabbing you in this case, and you may not know who it is.
but in the case of drones, how do we know what's going on if there isn't any kind of disclosure anyway? >> the disclosure, of course, is internal. all these things are discussed. there are gradations of intelligence. they have to have a high degree of confidence they have a high value target. the decisions are made at the highest possible level, so the buck doesn't go anywhere. it's right there and it's very important to remember that as we discuss what happens next, how the guidelines will be established and who makes the decision. >> just on that point, colonel jack, you're saying the buck stops with the president. >> oh, yes. >> these are ordered by the president. >> correct. and they should be no different, they should always be that, and we get into big-time trouble when the president of the united states decides that it's too much trouble, he's got other things to do, other people are really smart and they should make the decision. once you pass it down to a lower level, no matter how high it is, you've lost control over it. >> michael, "the times" reports
there have been 300 drone strikes since the president took office with 2,500 people killed. do you know, can we know if all those who were killed were terrorists? >> hi, martin. well, i think the vast preponderance has been, but it's hard to know. one thing we have to be wary of is that often the pakistani press has exaggerated the number of civilian fatalities because there's been a dual game going on in pakistan, as you're william aware, and there's been a willingness by some parts of the security forces to inflame u.s./pakistani relations. some of these have been fabricated. however, there were certainly periods earlier on, and this is not a partisan issue of bush versus obama, it's more a question of experience. earlier on in the use of drones, we didn't have as much experience in how to do the tracking of people before we unleashed these weapons and we did make more mistakes. i think we've gotten a lot
better and i've had some access to it which means i can't talk a lot about it which is exactly the dilemma. we have to figure out ways we can talk about this to allow some degree of informed public debate. the only broad thing i'm confident i can argue is that we've gotten a lot more careful, but there are still occasional mistakes made and we have to view this, as the colonel said, as a very high-level decision because you're never going to be 100% sure in every given case snp. >> in defense of the administration, john brennan has said that drones give us a precise ability to target our real enemies. but don't they also prevent us from having to expose american forces to hostile circumstances? >> well, they do. and there are arguments on both sides. there will be some who say that the way to reduce the violence is to ensure that americans will be killed or wounded in the process and there are others who say, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. we know who the enemies are. we're pretty good at pinpointing
them. we can kill them without necessarily having too much, not zero, but too much collateral damage, and we've all read our augustine and st. thomas aquinas and realize this is a just war so we can approve the use of these weapons. but it's very, very dangerous to say that the choice is between doing something efficiently on the one hand and exposing americans to violence on the other. the president of the united states -- politicians for sure are always going to choose the path where americans do not get killed. >> michael, to colonel jack's point, what is the moral justification for the use of a weapon like the predator drone? is it a case of the greater good coming first? >> well, martin, i think that you've actually seen a trend in warfare for a long time, but certainly in the last 20 years where we try to keep our forces out of harm's way and drones are just the latest manifestation of that. there is nothing particularly new about them. cruise missiles were the weapon that tried to do this in the
'90s. but any kind of an aircraft delivered weapon where we're able to fire from a distance where we can't be fired yet, even the kosovo war we stayed above 1500 feet so the serbs couldn't reach us. the bad news was we didn't know how to target their forces very well but we were trying to apply the same principle. i don't think that's what's new about drones. what's new about drones specifically here is that we are e sengtsly using them in a form of undeclared warfare in a country where we are not at war and where the indigenous government is not altogether happy about our doing this, and you know what country i'm talking about right next door to afghanistan. that's what's more different about the use of those drones. >> indeed. thank you both, gentlemen. next, the white house on this break with grover. stay with us. ♪
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it's being confirmed that the president and house speaker john boehner spoke on the telephone at the weekend as congressional leaders prepare for further discussions aimed at avoiding major tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year. does the phone call indicate republicans are preparing to compromise? here is house majority leader eric cantor on "morning joe" earlier today. >> john boehner went to the white house ten days ago and said, hey, republicans in the house are willing to put revenues on the table. that was a big move. right? and we said we're going to do that in the name of trying to fix the problem to respond to the electorate that re-elected this president, but at the same time we say we weren't elected to raise taxes. >> cnbc chief washington correspondent john harwood joins us. aside from boehner's delight at ohio state beating michigan, do
we know anything else about this telephone conversation between him and the president? >> reporter: i don't, other than the fact that it happened which in itself i think, martin, is encouraging. there hasn't been a whole lot since the leaders met with the president at the white house before thanksgiving, and so anything that shows continued attempted at conciliation and keeping talks alive is a positive step, but now the staff members in both parties and the principals have got to do the really hard work and they've only got a few weeks to do it. >> there's been talk of the president hitting the road campaign style to sell his approach to balancing the budget. but how strong is the house republican opposition to any kind of tax increase? because we've heard of some senate republicans saying they'll prepare default but in the house? >> well, i think there is some signs of movement. eric cantor was right to the extent that what john boehner was articulating was a new position.
that is to say, we're putting revenue on the table, actual tax increases in the short term. whether or not you're talking about rates or loopholes, if you get money from the same people, there's no particular economic or fairness difference -- >> but, john, with the greatest respect, wasn't that what mitt romney suggested for a year on the campaign trail? >> reporter: no, because mitt romney was not -- he was talking about closing loopholes but not about raising revenue. he was proposing a revenue neutral tax reform that would actually lower the rates. what boehner is talking about is actually closing some loopholes in a way that raises money beyond what the government's going to get, and, again, i emphasize not just from what the they call dynamic scoring but actual near-term tax increases, and i think that is a concussion to the degree they follow through on it and can get the votes in the house. >> john harwood there being very positive. let's hope so, john. thanks so much. >> you bet. >> and we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] if you suffer from heartburn 2 or more days a week,
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citi price rewind. buy now. save later. time now to "clear the air." and perhaps the president should have phoned mitt romney over the weekend instead of speaker john boehner because who would have thought the ghost of willard mitt romney would hover so heavily over the republican party now almost three weeks after romney's electoral pummeling. we know it was romney who first tried to sell the idea of increasing government revenue by closing loopholes and that this was the best way to tackle the deficit. >> one way to do it is to say everybody gets $25,000 of deductions and credits and you can decide which ones to use. >> but despite the fact that romney's figures didn't add up, speaker john boehner said exactly the same thing just a few days after romney's thrashing at the polls. >> instead of raising tack rates
on the american people and accepting the damage it will do to our economy, let's start to actually solve the problem. let's focus on tax reform that closes special interest loopholes and lowers tax rates. >> speaker boehner's script has been written by a failed and discredited presidential candidate and it's hard to know how to persuade someone who doesn't listen to economists who say closing loopholes won't produce enough revenue. doesn't listen to historians who say that raising taxes on the richest doesn't help the economy. but does one listen to one man, mitt romney, who was soundly rejected by the american people. that's why the time has come for speaker boehner to toss mitt romney's script into the nearest cash tray and reach an agreement for the good of country. thanks so much for wamping. "hardball" and chris matthews is next. stay with us.
hiding in history. let's play "hardball." snoof ♪ . good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let at the start with this. republicans must think they own the white house. i say this as someone who has watched them before and after the election. from the heights of george f. will to the depts of glenn beck, they were predicting not just victory but a glorious one in this election. what made them think so? the polls were tight but favoring president obama. what north store was guiding the gop convincing them that the white house would be back in their hands in january? back where their hankerings convinced it belonged? there was a darker side to this deep sense of executive entitlement, the sense they had the same assumed access to the white house as they did in the corporate dining room. it's more than a bit frighting. i have heard at least one person of the right